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Biology Research

James Koukl - The Turtle Research Laboratory

My research interests encompasses the ecology, behavior, physiology, and conservation of box turtles and freshwater aquatic turtles. I am particularly interested in the correlation in the box turtle's physiological changes and their behavior. My research focuses in the area of behavioral and physiological ecology and has included work on hibernation physiology and radiotelemetry.

Current Turtle Research Laboratory Projects

Community Ecology of Semi-aquatic Turtles in a Changing Environment On Two Adjacent Campus ponds at UT Tyler

Diversity and Structure of Aquatic Turtle Assembleges Across a Floodplain Landscape on the Sabine River, Texas

Assessment of Leech Load, Hemoglobin, and Hemataparasitism on Semi-aquatic Turtles on the Sabine River, Texas

Assessment of Heavy Metals, Trace Elements and Pesticides on Turtles Inhabiting Golf Course Ponds in East Texas.

Assessment of Heavy Metals, Trace Elements and Pesticides on Turtles on the Sabine, Neches, Trinity, and Angelina Rivers in East Texas

PCBs and organochlorine pesticides in the Sabine Map Turtle (Graptemys ouachitensis sabinensis) from the Sabine River Basin, Texas.

Hard and Soft Release Radiotelemetry Studies of Translocated 3-toed Box Turtles (Terrapene carolina triungius)

Radio-telemetry and mark recapture study of the activity in the Sabine Map Turtle (Graptemys ouachitensis sabinensis) on the Sabine River, Texas

Phylogenetic Analysis of the Graptmys Complex

Analysis of Home Range and Seasonal Movements of Graptemys ouachintensis sabinensis,on the Sabine River, Texas by radiotelemetry

Analysis of Home Range and Seasonal Movements of Graptemys pseudogeographica kohnii on the Sabine River, Texas by radiotelemetry

Long-term Assessment of Three-toed Box Turtle Populations at Camp Tyler, Tyler, Texas

Comparison of Resident vs. Long-term Pre-release acclimated repatriated Three-toed Box Turtles Using Radiotelemetry.

The Ecology and Terrestrial Activity of Turtles on Golf Courses

Analysis of Intestinal Parasite Load and Intestinal Bacterial Microbiota of Free-ranging and Captive Turtles

The Ecology of the Sabine Map Turtle on the Sabine River.

Previous Turtle Research Laboratory Projects

Daily Radio Tracking the Three-toed Box Turtle: Alan Byboth and James Koukl

Presented at the Joint Annual Meeting of SSAR, ASIH & HL, Kansas City, MO., July 2002.

Habitat Selection, Movement Patterns, and Survival Rates of Hatchling Three-toed Box Turtles (Terrepene carolina triungius)  Karen Rispin and James Koukl.

Laboratory Study of Feeding Preferences in Hatchling and Adult Box Turtles (Terrapene carolina triunguis). Karen Rispin and James Koukl.

Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Association of Naturalists, Oklahoma City, OK. April, 2003.

Habitat Selection, Movement, and Survival of Translocated Juvenile Three-toed Box Turtles (Terrepene carolina triungius).  Dave Bolanowski and James Koukl.

Presented at the Joint Annual Meeting of SSAR, ASIH & HL, Oklahoma City, OK., July, 2005.

Evaluation of Site acclimation for Repatriation of Three-toed Box Turtles.  Jason Keyes and James Koukl

Presented at the Annual Turtle Survival Alliance Conference.  St Louis, MO. August, 2006

Comparative Biochemical Analysis of Captive and Free-Ranging Bolson's Tortoise, (Gopherus flavomarginatus) James Koukl

Undergraduate Students

I am looking for serious undergraduate students who have a high degree of curiosity, commitment, and strong work ethic to work with turtles in the field and the turtle lab. Students must be hardy enough to work in the field with the heat and rain without complaint. Students can expect to develop and conduct an independent research project focusing on the biology and or conservation of turtles. Students can expect to develop an expertise and working knowledge of the literature relating to the student's chosen research topic. Students will also become familiar with scientific writing, publications, and peer-review process by helping produce a publishable manuscript describing the results of the student's research project. Students should plan on meeting with me regularly at other times throughout the semester as you work on your projects. As a part of this research experience undergraduate students will learn how to produce a professional CV, getting into graduate schools, giving presentations and making posters, writing grant proposals, selecting appropriate journals for submitting manuscripts, letters of recommendation, and the peer-review process.

Undergraduate funding generally comes from research assistant appointments depending on the particular grant.

Graduate Students

I will take up to two masters level students per year. Most of all my past graduate students that

have worked in my lab have had studied amphibians or reptiles. Most all projects involve a field component. I am looking for master's level graduate students who have a high degree of interest in a career in organismal biology. They must have a strong work ethic and willingness to work evenings, weekends, and holidays if necessary. Graduate students must have good communications skills, especially writing, and good technical skills in the field and be self starters. Graduate students must have moderate to good grades and good GRE scores.

If you are interested in MS level graduate studies send me a description of your professional interests, career goals, copy of your CV/resume and contact information for references. Send your GPA for all you undergraduate course work as well as GRE scores both the general and biology exams.

Arrange for a time when I can contact you and discuss whether you should apply to my lab. After reviewing your credentials and talking with you I will let you know if I think you should formally apply to our graduate program.† In the Department of Biology it is necessary for a faculty member to agree to accept a student before they are admitted to the graduate program.

Funding for Graduate students comes from $10,000 per year teaching assistantships (TA's) for teaching two general biology labs per semester and from grants.

If interesting in joining the Koukl Turtle Lab see my contact information.